In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Disappointment. A Review

Well I finally got out to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey today with Mrs. Rabbitman.

I have been looking forward to this movie for years and hoping, like many hobbitheads, that Jackson would take the project on after he finished with Lord of the Rings.

I just wanted a single fun movie, as well done as LOTR. That's all. It's a pretty simple tale, so one 3 hour movie is all you'd need right?

Then rumours came out about it being turned into two movies and I started to worry. Then I heard about the 3D and HFR (High Frame Rate) and got really worried. Would a good tale be lost in the movie tech?

I just wanted to see it in 2D at the normal speed, thanyouverymuch, we don't need anysillinessaroundhere! Plus I already wear eyeglasses, I didn't want to put 3D glasses overtop.

Alas it was not to be. The conventional screenings were limited and by the time my calendar cleared enough to go they had dried up. 3D HFR it was going to be.

My feelings after seeing it are a hearty Meh.

I liked the way they did the dwarves (although Thorin's beard was not long enough). I didn't mind the expansion of Radagast from a footnote to a comic character. Freeman's Bilbo was pretty good too. The treatment of the Necromancer, Saruman's duplicity and the poisoning of Mirkwood were well done.

I found however that there were too many scenes where they were showing off the 3D (do we need a panoramic shot of Bilbo running across Hobbiton?) and the HFR made everything look fake.

When I watch The Lord of the Rings on DVD (the extended director's cut of course) on my old TV, I get lost in Middle Earth. While watching The Hobbit I was constantly reminded that I was watching actors on a cheap set. During the scenes in Bag End I kept expecting an Ikea salesman to come on scene and make his pitch! And the scenes in Rivendell during the White Council just looked like a stage set for a BBC television production. In too many shots the layers were too obvious.

I also got tired of our heroes sliding about on out of control platforms and crashing from great heights onto rocks without getting hurt. Once is OK, but don't over do the gag. And then after all that Thorin gets cuffed by a warg and is mortally wounded? Really? REALLY? C'mon, he's tougher than that!

And what was up with the Goblin King's rather mellow voice? Had he gone to Eton? Was it Stephen Frye?

I guess I'll live with my disappointment. I will still buy the extended DVD when it comes out and see the next two installments. But it's not anywhere near as good as LOTR.

A very good movie got lost behind all the technology. Very disappointed.


  1. Yup.

    I saw in in cinventional 2d. Made all the crashing down chasm scenes even more out of place. Liked the beginning though and the riddle scene.

  2. I watched it twice, once in 3d and then in normal vision. I recommend the normal, The 3rd crowds the screen and blurs with all the action.

  3. I suspect I'll enjoy it more in 2D on DVD.
    I think part of my problem is that I was expecting a GREAT film and got an OK film. Whereas Mrs. Rabbitman was expecting to be disappointed so was quite pleased and enjoyed herself.

  4. I watched it in both 3D and 2D. I found the difference to be negligible to the point that they needn't have bothered.

    I felt that the part with the Stone Giants, and them falling through the floor of the cave, while apparently in the book, seemed very random. The Stone Giants especially seemed very unnecessary.

    And yeah, don't get me started on all the physics defying antics.

    1. The stone giants are actually in the book but they're more like bigger trolls throwing stones at each other during the storm and seen by lighting flash. But yes, not nearly so over the top as the movie.

  5. I saw it in 38, not sure if was HFR. It was - ok. The 3D was not as headache inducing as Alice. As noted the image planes were very obvious at times. Too many shots were there to emphasize the 3d and one could get a pretty good idea what the theme park ride is going to look like.

    The downside for me is that Jackson's view of middle earth, in this case especially the Goblin Caves, doesn't line up with what I envisioned as I read the book.

    1. I did think Goblin Town very silly, but I try to remember that he's trying to make a point and be visual, whereas the Goblin Town as written would be very dark,narrow tunnels, cramped and gloomy; not a lot of scope for gasp inducing photographry.